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MIL OSI – Source: Child Youth and Family – Release/Statement

Headline: Honouring our most inspiring carers

Ten extraordinary foster carers and caregiving couples were honoured with Excellence in Foster Care Awards at a ceremony hosted by Governor-General, Dame Patsy Reddy on Friday.

These caregivers make an inspiring difference for children and young people in care. Together they have provided loving homes for hundreds of children and young people – dedicating themselves to decades of devoted care.

At the ceremony held at Government House, Fostering Kids NZ CEO Linda Surtees said, “You are key to a brighter future – helping and guiding others as we strive for a world where children and young people who are in need of care and protection have every opportunity to be healed and loved.”    

“Caregivers play a pivotal role in breaking the cycle – displaying the patience of saints – as they continue to believe in children and young people too many others have given up on.

“A caring family is one of the greatest gifts of all – and when done well is the gift of healing.”   

Minister for Children Anne Tolley attended the ceremony, saying, “I was delighted to meet and talk to these wonderful families, and to thank them for their patience, resilience and strength.

“They provide loving and stable homes, often under very challenging circumstances, to ensure that young people can be safe and secure and have a sense of belonging, free from abuse and neglect. Read the Minister’s release

Incoming chief executive of Oranga Tamariki, the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Gráinne Moss, spoke at the ceremony about working in partnership with Fostering Kids to support caregivers and encouraging more people to become foster carers.

“It was really inspiring to hear the stories and learn more about each caregiver. Children and young people in care need us to be sharing stories like the ones of our wonderful people here receiving these awards. We need more people to follow in your footsteps,” said Gráinne.

Gráinne also spoke of the task of leading the new Ministry, recognising just how much foster carers give when caring for children, often with high needs.

“Your level of resilience is something that inspires me on this journey.”

Each year caregivers, social workers and people from our communities nominate caregivers for what they do for children and young people in care. It is always a huge challenge to choose ten award recipients from these nominees.

Award recipients are selected for making inspiring changes in the lives of children, their length of service, team approach, relationship with the child’s family and their role as a leader or mentor to other caregivers.

Image below: Dame Patsy Reddy and Sir David Gascoigne with Hon Anne Tolley and the recipients of the Excellence in Foster Care Awards